Celtics Twice Nearly Claimed Knicks’ Jeremy Lin Off Waivers

Had either of the Celtics' two waiver claims on the Knicks' Jeremy Lin gone through this offseason, he and Kevin Garnett would have been teammates instead of opponents. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

Apparently, some dude on the Knicks is having a decent season. Jerry something-or-other. Played for Yale, I think.

Were he a Celtic, I might show more enthusiasm for point guard Jeremy Lin and the seven consecutive wins his team has rattled off since his move into the starting spot. And it appears I nearly got my wish… twice.

Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reported Thursday that the Celtics twice submitted waiver claims for Lin when the Golden State Warriors cut him prior to the start of this season. The Houston Rockets claimed Lin ahead of the Celtics, cut him, and then the Knicks took him, again ahead of the Celtics. The rest is media-magnified history.

But oh, what might have been.

Lin Would Have Thrived in Boston

Though overall a feel-good story, Lin’s sudden success still bears a small shadow: the return of Carmelo Anthony. When Anthony returns, Lin will have to give back many of the 17-plus shots per night he’s averaged over the last seven games. The arrogant, needy Anthony will demand the ball whenever he’s on the court, and the humble Lin will probably give it away willingly.

If this works, the story dies. But if it fails, and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni has to take the ball away from Anthony, a schism could form in the locker room that derails a Knicks season that finally looks back on track.

Unlike the Knicks, the Celtics don’t play selfishly. Rajon Rondo usually passes to the open shooter, whoever that may be. While that doesn’t always work – there’s really no reason to ever pass to Jermaine O’Neal or Marquis Daniels – it creates a system that rewards humility and team effort over individual skill-sets.

Lin would have succeeded in such a system. He’s said that despite scoring 20 points or more in six of the last seven games, he still sees himself as a distributor. No one distributes like Rondo does, and Lin would have learned infinitely more about passing from Rondo than garbage Knicks guards like Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas.

Lin also would have provided a scoring threat off the bench, something the Celtics have especially lacked since the loss of Brandon Bass. Lin would have covered some of the scoring lost with Bass’ knee injury, and once healthy, Bass, Lin and Chris Wilcox would have found openings in just about any defense. Just as the Celtics’ starters dominate when they play complimentary basketball, so too would the second unit.

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Gordon’s Four Treys Lead Pistons Past Celtics

Ben Gordon shoots the ball against Chris Wilcox and Mickael Pietrus during Wednesday's Celtics-Pistons game at the TD Garden in Boston. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

Even the best teams can’t play their starters for 48 minutes, and neither the Boston Celtics nor the Detroit Pistons are among the best teams. Both teams needed contributions from their benches Wednesday night at TD Garden, and the Pistons’ reserves won.

Reserve guard Ben Gordon hit four fourth-quarter three-pointers, part of a 22-point night that helped the Pistons to a 98-88 victory over the Celtics.

Gordon Unguardable in Fourth

The Celtics entered the fourth quarter down just 73-72. With 1:30 elapsed, Gordon found himself with the shot-clock winding down and no one else open. Gordon took the 25-foot three-pointer from the top of the key and drained it. He hit a second two possessions later, extending the Pistons’ lead to 82-76.

Despite both Gordon’s success Wednesday and his reputation as a sharp-shooter from his days with the Bulls, the Celtics – in particular guard Avery Bradley – continued to play off him near the arch. In the zone and without much pressure, Gordon happily continued shooting from deep, knocking down two more for an insurmountable double-digit lead late in the game.

The other Pistons combined to match Gordon with four fourth-quarter baskets. Between far superior free-throw shooting – 24-of-29 overall, vs. 19-of-32 for the Celtics – and a suddenly effective defense, the Pistons never trailed in the fourth quarter and never looked out of control.

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DigBoston: 60th Annual Beanpot Story Live

BC's Steven Whitney played a HUGE role in the BC-Northeastern game at last Monday's Beanpot. Read more at DigBoston.com.

College hockey anyone? By the second game of last Monday’s Beanpot, I was so bored I briefly considered leaping from the 9th floor press box at TD Garden. But it made for a funny column!

Check it out!

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam!

Real Spam flavors include "Spam Garlic" and "Spam with Cheese." Goose's Gabs spam styles include "Gramatically Incorrect Spam" and "Kamagra Sales Spam."

For some reason, I’ve been getting a lot more spam comments on Goose’s Gabs posts recently. Not sure why, but once a spammer gets a comment approved, s/he tends to spam dozens of old posts all at once, leaving me the thankless task of going back and deleting them all.

To avoid that hassle, every few days I diligently purge every piece of spam awaiting approval. While doing this I noticed most of the spam fall into one of several categories. And here they are:

Gramatically Incorrect Spam

Whoever writes these messages really, really doesn’t know English. Whether it’s incorrectly chosen nouns, improperly conjugated verbs or out-of-place conjunctions, these comments make absolutely no sense. I read them and think, “WTF?”

Example posted Monday: “I loved up to you will obtain performed right here. The caricature is tasteful, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you wish be turning in the following. ill certainly come further in the past once more as exactly the same just about very continuously within case you protect this increase.”

Generic Complement Spam

I also get a lot of spammers that try to get approved by complimenting my site. But usually the comment is so generic that it could be applied to any site. I appreciate the comment, anonymous spammer, but if you want to get on my site, you need to say something other than you “liked the subject matter.” Adding an equally generic question at the end won’t fool me, either.

Example posted Sunday: “Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading through your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics? Thanks!”

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Book Review: “The Best American Sports Writing 2011”

"The Best American Sports Writing 2011," edited by Jane Leavy

Four months have passed since I last reviewed a volume of Glenn Stout’s “Best American Sports Writing” series. We’re long past due for another, so here’s the 2011 collection.

Jane Leavy’s Not-So-Hidden Agenda

Introductions by BASW volume editors are usually just thematic essays (“sports rule” and “sports writing rules” being the two most common). The editors use those themes to loosely connect the stories that follow, so the introductions normally read as if they had been written after all the stories had been chosen.

But Washington Post writer Jane Leavy uses her introduction to lay out specific goals for the 2011 volume. Leavy begins with the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and from there makes it abundantly clear that she began the process wanting to show sport’s recent shift towards the extreme.

This results in a collection of 29 stories that, despite varying greatly in both content and style, maintain a subtle, almost intangible connection to each other. It’s a bold strategy, and it both bolsters and sabotages BASW ’11.

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DigBoston: Celtics-Lakers Bonus Story Live

Pau Gasol did some very mean things to the Celtics Thursday night. Find out more at DigBoston.com.

I know what you’re all thinking: “Boy, I sure do love Matt’s DigBoston columns! If only he wrote more than one a week!”

Well, you’re in luck! I couldn’t let a reminder that the Patriots had lost another Super Bowl sit on DigBoston.com for an entire week, so I went out to Bukowski Tavern last night and watched the Celtics play the Lakers. The result was the first ever “52 Games Overtime” column.

Check it out!

An Odd Disconnect in the TD Garden Press Box

There were many reporters in the TD Garden press box Monday night at the Beanpot, but my column's fan-centered angle made me feel alone.

DigBoston sent me to TD Garden Monday night to cover the Beanpot, Boston’s 60-year-old hockey tournament between BU, BC, Harvard and Northeastern. The premise seemed similar to the Futures at Fenway event I covered for WEEI over the summer – lower-tier athletes (minor leaguers/college hockey players) competing at their sport’s professional-level stage in Boston.

I loved my Fenway Park experience, feeling strong camaraderie with the other reporters there, so I figured my TD Garden experience would be equally positive. But from the moment I grabbed my press pass at the check-in table, I realized something was amiss.

I wasn’t a sports journalist in the same way NESN’s Tom Caron (who walked into the press room right behind me) was. For one, most of them were getting paid (so far, DigBoston pays me in bar tabs).

I also wasn’t writing for a student paper, nor was I part of a school’s sports information department. My story wouldn’t be one of the one-sided, positives-only features that appear on every team’s website.

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Sabres Crush Both Rask and Thomas in Buffalo

Jason Pominville (right) sweeps the puck past Tuukka Rask for the Sabres' second goal of Wednesday's game at First Niagara Center in Buffalo. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

The Buffalo Sabres played Wednesday’s game as a team desperately needing wins to keep its playoff hopes alive should: intelligent but physical, controlled but aggressive.

The Boston Bruins played as a team with a chance at the Eastern Conference’s top spot should not: lazy, disorganized, brainless.

Who do you think won?

The Sabres scored twice in each period Wednesday, cruising to a 6-0 blowout victory over the Bruins in Buffalo.

Poor Defense Rattles Rask

It was clear just minutes into the game that Tuukka Rask hadn’t brought his A-game to First Niagara Center. When Christian Ehrhoff fired from the blue line following a d-to-d pass from Tyler Myers, Rask misjudged the puck once it glanced off Gregory Campell, giving the Sabres a 1-0 lead on just their second shot of the game.

The Sabres went up 2-0 with just over five minutes left in the first when center Ville Leino made a nifty spin in the Bruins’ left circle, avoiding the defense and centering the puck to Jason Pominville. Pominville quickly chipped it in, with defenseman Mike Weber also assisting.

Clearly rattled by two goals that were as much his defense’s fault as his own, Rask lasted just 1:52 into the second period, when Andrej Sekera found Tyler Ennis in the neutral zone. Ennis changed direction twice in the Bruins’ zone, eluding multiple defenders before ricocheting a backhand off the goalpost and in for the 3-0 lead.

Rask exited the game following Ennis’ goal, having given up three goals in just 10 shots. It was his worst outing since lasting just one period and giving up three goals to the same Sabres on Jan. 1, 2010.

Continue reading Sabres Crush Both Rask and Thomas in Buffalo